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  • Writer's pictureKirstin Kennedy

PA woman alleges she was fired by Capstone Logistics for reporting racist comments

For immediate release

PHILADELPHIA – The law office of Ruppert Manes Narahari recently filed a lawsuit against Capstone Logistics, LLC, alleging that a Hispanic employee was terminated after she reported that a supervisor had made racially discriminatory comments to her and other Hispanic staff members.

According to a civil complaint filed in the Eastern District Court of Pennsylvania, Plaintiff Meleny Torres began working for Capstone Logistics in September 2018 as a warehouse clerk at the company’s location in Levittown, Pennsylvania. During her employment, she witnessed several instances of racial discrimination lobbed at employees of Hispanic descent, according to the complaint. Ms. Torres, a Hispanic woman, stated that she found the discriminatory comments to be highly offensive.

The filing described several notable occurrences of such discrimination, particularly in the form of comments made by Site Manager Kristelle Parsons to Hispanic employees. On one occasion, Ms. Parsons was accused of referring to Spanish-speaking employees as individuals who “don’t even have a high school education.” She then stated that working as drivers is “the only job they can do,” according to the complaint. Ms. Parsons was also accused of stating that she “has a problem with Ecuadorians.”

A major event leading to the filing of the lawsuit occurred on April 11, 2019, when Ms. Torres was asked to translate for a Spanish-speaking contractor, according to the filing. Upon her request, Ms. Parsons allegedly told Ms. Torres that she could not understand the contractor because she was “from America, and, in America, people speak English.” Apparently aggravated by the need for translation, Ms. Parsons further iterated that she could not understand the contractor because she was from the United States, according to the complaint.

Offended by the racially-charged statement, Ms. Torres reached out to the company’s Travel Site Manager, Harry Vansant, to report her concerns regarding Ms. Parsons’ discriminatory behavior, addressing the comments as “racist.” According to the filing, Mr. Vansant said that “racist is a strong word,” but that he would follow up with her complaint. Later that day, as described in the lawsuit, Mr. Vasant asked Ms. Torres to provide a written statement and provided her with information to contact the company’s human resources department. He also told Ms. Torres to not come into work the next day, according to the complaint.

Ms. Torres alleges that she provided her written statement and contacted the human resources department, as requested by Mr. Vasant. According to the complaint, on April 15, 2019, Ms. Torres was contacted by a human resources representative who told her that her reaction to the situation was being investigated. Two days later, her employment was terminated.

Lead Attorney Christa Levko asserted in the filing that the timing of Mr. Torres’ termination, as well as the preceding events, shows that she was fired because of the complaints that she made regarding discrimination. The two-count lawsuit claims a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in the form of discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation, as well as a denial of equal rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Prior to the filing of the lawsuit, Ms. Torres filed a complaint through the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and was provided a right to sue.

Ruppert Manes Narahari is a Pittsburgh-based employment law firm representing workers who have been wrongfully terminated, harassed, or cheated by their employers. The firm also provides business law-related services and represents small businesses and entrepreneurs in startup, transactional, and litigation matters.

For more information on the claims made by Ms. Torres against Capstone Logistics, LLC, contact the law office of Ruppert Manes Narahari at 412-626-5626.

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